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  MSNBC    Hardball Weekend    News/Business. The best of  
   'Hardball With Chris Matthews.'  

    October 27, 2012
    2:00 - 2:30am PDT  

. . dirt ball. let's play "hardball." good ink. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. can you smell it? it's the ugliness of this campaign. heading into the last week, the romney campaign against president obama carries the scent of hell. john sununu, the top romney surrogate, barks at that lazy one in the white house who doesn't know how to be an american, who sarah palin mocks for shucking and jiving, and donald trump accuses again and again and again of being from kenya and playing monkey business with the country's economic numbers. you know, the same fellow romney says cheats on the welfare checks to feed his political base. the guy gingrich calls the food stamp president.
listen to sununu last night yelling at former governor bill richardson to shut up saying general colin powell's political judgment is based on racial bias. trump offering a big bet the president won't show his student transcripts all to diminish the president's academic rise to editor of the harvard law review. yes, it's all directed at drumming up the blue collar white vote for the republican ticket and, yes, it smells. david corn is author of "the 47 percent" and joy reid is managing editor of the grio. both are msnbc political analysts. if the romney campaign is really winning, you have to ask, then you wouldn't think they'd be acting like this. take a look at romney campaign co-chair and former new hampshire governor john sununu last night on cnn and fox. >> when you take a look at colin powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring president obama. >> what reason would that be? >> well, i think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president
of the united states, i applaud colin for standing with him. he supported a bankruptcy and eventual support from the federal government after the bankruptcy. but the important thing is that's the past. that's the past. >> that's the moving target that colin powell talks about. that's his last position, john. you can't -- you shouldn't have brought that up, john. that was a bad thing to bring up. >> hey, bill, why don't you shut up for a minute and let me tell you facts. >> this president wants to bring the country together. he wants to bring the country together. >> by saying that mitt romney's a bser? >> he's created more racial division than any administration in history. >> oh, come on. come on. >> oh, come on. let me go to joy on this thing. i know i pushed this point, but every day it becomes truer. every day you see the thread collected, the language used, the way they talk about the president, not as a democrat, not as a liberal, not as someone they disagree with, but someone
about whom the very person is wrong for the office somehow. what do you think they're talking about? endlessly. >> exactly. and this is about over and over again tweaking the archie bunker crowd. this is about that angry guy, we all known him in the neighborhood, because, look, if this was just about barack obama or his policies, colin powell wouldn't magically get sucked into it, too. we wouldn't be hearing sarah palin talking about shucking and jiving. how much more obvious do they have to be? this is about trying to run up romney's numbers among low information blue collar white voters, particularly older white voters who are already uncomfortable with the idea of this guy being in the white house. not a democrat being in the white house, this democrat. this president. the person of barack obama is what is offensive to old cranks like john sununu who, by the way, hasn't had an intelligent thought since the reagan administration. why is he the top surrogate for mitt romney? because he speaks to that guy, archie bunker. >> you know, i have to think that all this stuff, i grew up with watching it, from the south mainly, but some were from rizzo
and philadelphia, and stuff like that, ben tillman and george wallace and, you know, all those characters down there used to do it, but now it's the sophisticated guys, governors of big states. rich guy in new york, trump. all over the place they keep doing this. >> what we see is a continuum. it goes all the way from the birtherism as we talked about a way to define barack obama as being foreign because he either has the wrong ideas or because he's black, whatever it might be, to the idea he doesn't understand american. you know, mitt romney has said again and again he doesn't get america, probably will play sununu saying earlier, a few months ago, listen, i wish this guy would learn how to be an american. all the way, it's all about saying he's not one of us, and people can read that all sorts of different ways. if you want to see it racially because you're an archie bunker type like joy just said, then you get that message that way. if you want to read it because you think he's a socialist and you don't like socialists and it has nothing to do with race, you
can see it that way, too. it's really sophisticated. not a dog whistle, sort of an orchestra that plays to a wide audience with different instruments. >> chris, i'm sorry, i kind of disagree with david corn, this isn't sophisticated. these people can't define socialist. they don't know what it means. i think it's very much ethnic, and i don't think these people are sophisticated at all. this is a blunt, loud dog whistle. >> we had a woman waiting on our rope line, and she was yelling communist. i kept asking, what do you mean by that? she didn't have any notion what it meant. it meant she didn't like the look of that guy, whatever. at midnight the romney campaign released a statement from sununu. isn't it interesting how they do this, and talk about orchestration. colin powell is a friend. i like the way they say this in washington. a friend of whose? i respect the endorsement decision he made, and i do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president's policies. piers morgan's question was whether colin powell should leave the party, and i don't think he should. let me get back to this. this is orchestrated.
listen to some of the stuff he said in the past. sununu had some inflammatory things throughout the campaign. listen to a press conference call back in july. >> the president clearly demonstrated that he has absolutely no idea how the american economy functions. the men and women all over america who have worked hard to build these businesses, their businesses from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world. it is the american way, and i wish this president would learn how to be an american. >> i wish he'd learn how to be an american. they always kick that as the kicker, you're right, joy. it isn't good enough to disagree with his policies. he ain't an american. here is sununu, one more bit of this stuff. here is an interview with andrea mitchell, who i know was taken aback when she heard these words. >> what people saw last night i think was a president that revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is, and how
he has absolutely no idea how serious the economic problems of the country are. he's lazy and disengaged. >> lazy. i don't know how many more dog whistles or trumpets you need to play. it's lazy, the food stamp guy. you know what? this isn't sophisticated because it does play on ideology only in the sense that ideology words are words that are bad words. >> these are the same guys that opposed busing in boston. these are the same guys that call african-americans in general lazy. there's just something wrong with them. it's the same dog whistle you hear over and over, and it's a particularly rich dog whistle to be blown by john sununu who himself is a naturalized american, born in havana, neither of his parents are american. barack obama has more roots in the united states of america than john sununu does. >> by the way, one of the great ironies of our lives living in america, this country means so much to me, our history is so rich and ironic. african-americans were here for
250 years working for nothing. >> long before some of us came. >> i'm not asking for reparations necessarily, but i have to tell you something, they're there, they were here long before most of us. let me go to this point here about the people speak for romney when he doesn't want to do it. they used to say mickey cohen, the gangster, said if you have a dog, you don't have to bark. look at all these dogs he has out there. trumpy, amazingly successful almost like a figure out of a comic book. guy, downtown business developer in a batman movie. he's an incredibly big shot, so a lot of little guys out there, this makes i think joy's point. a lot of little guys out there, that big shot says he's from kenya, must be something there. really. and then he goes after him and says the unemployment number which helped the president a week or so ago -- may not help him this week. they criticized the obama's administration's handling of benghazi. sarah palin headlines her column, "obama's shuck and jive ends with benghazi lives." trump offered money if the president would turn over
college records and passport applications. a few weeks ago after employment dropped below 8%, trump claimed it was a result of white house manipulation. let's catch his wording though. >> do you think they changed the numbers? >> i do. i do. and i think that they did -- there was a lot of monkey business. >> sucking up to him is really sickening. sure, talk to him about housing development, talk to him about downtown development. he's a genius. don't ask him his political views because he gets back into monkey business and he's from kenya. >> my overarching point is these guys, not saying they're sophisticated, i think this is crass, but what they've managed to do is take these racial arguments and attacks but also make them into something that he's not just -- not just that he's black but he's foreign. that he's european, he's socialistic, he's not one of us, he doesn't understand. when things go wrong in benghazi, he's apologizing -- >> if he was homegrown all the
way, what would you think if his name was joe brown, a regular name? would they be treating him any better? maybe go at him a different way. >> just a different way. >> they went after bill clinton in a different way. it was very particular to his character and his life story, and they said he was a hippie, said he was manchurian candidate. >> a murderer. they called him a murderer. >> but this guy -- >> he's not an american. keep coming back to he's not an american. >> let's go back to the candidate on the other side. there's two candidates running for president. thank good trump isn't one. thank good sununu is not one. romney and obama. romney has had adequate opportunity throughout this campaign to come out and say, i will not put up with this. nobody who speaks for me shall talk like this anymore. you're all finished. i don't want trump on my side. remember that genuflection out in vegas? sununu is designated as his co-chair. he is out there officially. we just saw when he did his correction, it came out of the romney headquarters. this is orchestrated. >> exactly. >> i keep waiting, it's way too late -- >> you're not going to see it.
>> it will never happen. >> sister souljah moment or anything like that -- >> it will never happen. >> like the great john mccain on this point, when he pushed back and said, no, that's not true. >> i have been waiting this whole campaign, we've talked about this earlier, for mitt romney to show one inch of spine -- >> how about shame? >> shame or spine, whatever. there's not a single courageous statement or move he's made as a politician that i can discern, unlike his dad. he's the opposite of his dad who took gutsy positions, even at political cost, again and again and again. >> thank you. coming up, one strategist is playing the role of incumbent. the other is acting like the underdog. crisscrossing the country doing a blitz of television. here is the surprise. the roles are in reverse. governor romney is acting like an incumbent, like dick nixon, obama is acting like the
challenger. what's behind both strategies? while everyone was paying attention to the race, the democrats have improved their chances of holding control of the united states senate. how did this happen? see if you can recognize these voices from nbc's 1980 electric coverage. >> now, solid blue practically all the way from the mississippi river westward leaving only oregon, washington, and arkansas, as you can see. >> beginning to look like a suburban swimming pool over there. >> a suburban swimming pool, that was tom brokaw and then david brinkley announcing ronald reagan's landslide election when we called republicans blue. there's a new ebook coming out with video going back to 1940. we'll have that on tonight. let me finish with this campaign that's really starting to smell. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ke longer. i'm done! [ chuckles ] sweet [ female announcer ] swiffer's wet mopping cloths can clean better than mops in half the time swiffer. better clean in half the time.
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welcome back to "hardball." in the closing days of the campaign, the two candidates for president are pursuing very different strategies. on the one hand president obama has gone on a virtual media blitz speaking to various radio shows, "rolling stone" magazine, as well as tv interviews with seven affiliates just today and sit-downs with jay leno, brian williams, and mtv. which he is doing today as well. in contrast, the romney campaign says the candidate has no plans for anyitional interviews before the election. he will apparently stick to giving speeches like he did today. in fact, billed as a major policy speech, romney offered no new policies nor did he give any explanation for how he will implement some of his more mathematically challenged promises like capping federal spending at 20% of the gdp. paul krugman wrote, romney's plan is a sham. it's a list of things he claims will happen with no description of the policies he would follow to make those things happen. if you refuse to let the media ask you questions, you never have to worry about giving them answers. joan walsh is author of "what's
the matter with white people," and douglas brinkley is editor of "rolling stone." he conducted an oval office interview with president obama. douglas, this whole idea of a president, it clicks with me as sort of the dewey campaign of 1948 where the guy basically -- as manchester wrote in "the glory and the dream," he had every means of communication to say anything he wanted, and he had nothing to say. also the nixon campaign of '68 where he hunkered down with his big lead and said absolutely nothing, including no interviews. >> i was thinking of '68 today. look, you remember when brian williams did that interview during the london olympics of mitt romney, and it was a disaster. he almost got thrown out of the uk, and at that time charles krauthammer wrote a recommendation to mitt romney which was zip it, be quiet, you can only do damage to yourself in these interviews. it's not the art form that mitt romney is good at.
barack obama is facile and quick-witted, can be funny and can get into policy depth. mitt romney is quite shallow in some ways, and he's better off probably running the ads he's doing than going on the talk show circuit. >> joan, your thoughts you have to interview people all the time. it seems to me he doesn't think he has to do it because it's below him to answer questions and i think as a business guy, a tycoon really, he can talk to anybody he wants to or not talk to anybody. that's the difference between the political press and the business press. >> yeah. he's not used to it. it's like he's running a rose garden strategy, but he doesn't live in the rose garden yet and no one has told him, chris. doug is absolutely right. he's not good on his feet. his last few interviews have been disasters. he was terrible with david gregory. when paul ryan sat down with chris wallace, he was hammered on the absence of details in their plans. romney couldn't even handle bret
baier from fox. they can't even go to fox -- when they go on fox -- nobody blows fox who is a republican except these two guys. so i think it's the prevent defense except he's not sitting on a lead. he has a narrow popular vote lead. but he's behind in most of the swing states. he's behind in ohio, wisconsin, iowa, nevada. you know, i'm not sure this is so safe, but it's probably the safest course for him. >> well, i think bret baier is pretty good in that interview. one reason romney might steer clear of sit-down interviews, he's been barraged with questions about senate candidate richard mourdock. take a look. >> governor, do you wish mourdock would pull that ad? >> which way are we going? >> governor, do you disavow mourdock's comments on the rape? >> thank you. >> governor, do you disavow murdoch's comments on the rape? >> what do you make of that, doug? it seems to me that he has that wonderful immutability to just say i'm turning on the mute button, i'm not saying nothing, live with it.
>> yeah, i think so. >> he's been taking a lot of pages from ronald reagan. remember when reagan would walk in and he couldn't hear, would have to cup his ear and wouldn't have to answer questions. in the third debate we saw a lot of reagan in mitt romney in the sense of talking about peace and being genial. this is a candidate now who realizes if he gets loose on a talk show, they're going to ask him about his taxes, they're going to ask him about bain capital, and those issues have somehow died. you don't hear the press talking about it much. so i think they see it's just a sea filled with land mines if romney gets out there and tries to freelance q & as. thank you, doug and joan. how long would it take to you watch all the ads the obama and romney campaigns have run? just in ohio alone? this is "hardball," the place for politics.
back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." nancy pelosi was on "the daily show" last night with her own spin on romnesia. romney's tendency to forget what he said last year. pelosi brought up the failed personhood amendment in mississippi. >> governor romney had endorsed personhood amendment in mississippi. >> no, i remember that. >> even the people of mississippi rejected that position. >> well, romney also rejected that position as well. >> well, the president calls it romnesia. i have my own what i call mittology. >> anyway, also taking on the late night comedy scene, first lady michelle obama. she and jimmy kimmel put together an ad to get you out of bed on election day.
>> election day, election day! up and adam. up and adam! it's election day. come on, let's go. get your shoes on. up, up, up! move it. >> all right. okay. >> time to vote. you can do it. >> okay. i'm voting. >> out the door, out the door! and eat some carrots. >> i'm barack obama, and i approve this message. >> also mrs. obama has been encouraging people to take advantage of early voting just in case, her words here, your toilet overflows on election day and you can't get to the polls. >> also, lena dunham, the creator, actor and writer in the girls. here she is talking about voting for the first time. >> your first time shouldn't be with just anybody. you want to do it with a great guy. you don't want a guy who says, oh, hey, i'm at the library studying when he's really out
not signing the lilly ledbetter act or who thinks gay people shouldn't have beautiful complicated weddings. super uncool to be out and about and somebody says, did you vote? no, i wasn't ready. my first time voting was amazing. i voted for barack obama. >> well, the ad is facing backlash in conservative circles for being too risque, but they're not the target audience. how many days would it take to watch all the presidential ads that have aired in ohio over the past month? according to bloomberg news and cancer media, that would be 80 days straight, 24/7. we are talking nonstop, 80 days presidential ads appeared over 58,000 times in ohio over the past month. that's hardball for now. coming up next, your business with j.j. ramberg. we put a week's worth of bad odors in a home.
some aerosols may just mix with them. can febreze remove them? [ moderator ] describe the smell. it's very pleasant. some kind of flower maybe? ♪ awww, oh yuck! [ male announcer ] febreze air effects doesn't mix, it actually removes odors so you can breathe happy. tomato, obviously. haha. there's more than that though, there's a kick to it. there's a pop. wahlalalalallala! pepper, but not pepper, i'm getting like, pep-pepper. it's kind of like drinking a food that's a drink, or a drink that's a food, zip zip zip zip zip! i'm literally getting zinged by the flavor. smooth, but crisp. velvety. kind of makes me feel like a dah zing yah woooooh! [ male announcer ] taste it and describe the indescribable. could've had a v8. woooo!